The wife of an Australian man sentenced to 10 years in a Dubai jail over a property deal gone wrong has spoken of her family's torment.

In her first television interview, Angela Higgins told the ABC's Lateline program of her shock and bewilderment at the judgment.

Her husband, Matthew Joyce, effectively faces life in prison because he has also been fined $25 million, a sum the family says they will never be able to pay.

"If you can't pay the fine you keep doing more time past your sentence time," she said.

"This is effectively a life sentence and not just for Matt, for me, for the children, for our parents."

The family has less than 30 days together, failing the success of a last-minute appeal.

After four-and-a-half years of fighting, Ms Higgins does not want to think about her husband's fate.

"This is his worst nightmare," she said.

"He's always, when he's felt really down, said this is what will happen. And I've said, 'Don't be ridiculous. Impossible. Over my dead body. You're an innocent man'. I'm shocked."

Mr Joyce was found guilty of fraud over the sale of waterfront land involving Gold Coast-based property developer Sunland and Nakheel, a development company owned by the emir of Dubai.

Mr Joyce's co-accused and colleague, fellow Australian Marcus Lee, was acquitted of the charges on Monday, but prosecutors could appeal against the decision.

In 2012, a case based on the same evidence was thrown out by the Victorian Supreme Court, so this judgment has hit the family hard.

"We can't begin to make head or tail of it. And [it's] so harsh, especially after the Australian judgment that proved Matt's innocence and yet that same information, that same evidence, is found in a completely different direction over here and we know it's untrue," Ms Higgins said.

"Matt's as innocent as the day is long and you just can't comprehend how it can be emphatically clear on one side and then diabolically devastating."

The Victorian court dismissed a civil case against Mr Joyce brought by the Sunland Group.

The judge agreed with Mr Joyce's lawyers that Sunland's David Brown gave evidence that was fabricated, false and unreliable. Sunland is appealing that decision.

"David Brown's statements to the Australian Victorian Supreme Court contradict his statement here. And he's admitted in the Australian court that what he said here wasn't accurate or correct," Ms Higgins told Lateline.

"I wish he would have moral courage to write to the authorities here ... to correct the record, because my husband and my kids and my family have been given a life sentence because of his false testimony.

"We have been convicted because of what David Brown said and it's grossly unfair and it's unethical and I would like to see the record set straight."

Ms Higgins said she was trying to remain optimistic in the face of a difficult situation.

"I think we feel very vulnerable, obviously very exposed. We're waiting on the appeal decision in Australia. We've got to - I understand we lodged an appeal today," she said.

"We're not clear about the process here. We don't - if we go into court, everything's in Arabic. There's that lost-in-translation factor even with our lawyers.

"I think I have to remain optimistic. No matter what I feel or fear or feel cynical about, I just have to remain optimistic."

The Australian Government says it has made multiple representations to the United Arab Emirates on behalf of Mr Joyce.

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